The two-day conference on marine protected areas was completed by presenting the three-year SEA-Med project: Sustainable Economic Development in Marine Protected Areas. The whole green hall of the hotel Split in Podstrana was welcomed by all the project partners, and the Ladona klapa from the island of Lastovo took care of the atmosphere.
The project aimed at nature parks Lastovo and Telašćica and it was implemented by partners: the Association for Nature, Environment and Sustainable Development Sunce, the World Organization for Nature Protection WWF Adria, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nature, the Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian Environment Agency.
Although the SEA-Med project ends after 3 years, let’s recall that this story began nearly a decade ago. In 2008, the project called MedPAN South started that resulted in the 1st Conference of Marine Protected Areas. Its successor, focusing on the nature parks of Lastovo and Telašćica, maintained a vision of nature conservation and sustainable tourism.
“Croatian tourism should go in the direction of sustainability and for marine protected areas it is the only possible way. Sustainable tourism is in service and in the benefit of the destination it is in, it respects local identity, heritage, preserves nature and contributes to the local community, “said Milena Šijan, Project Leader of the Sun Society.
Director of WWF Adria Martin Šolar emphasized the importance of preserving marine biodiversity and sustainable fisheries:
“If it was once thought that the protection of nature and tourism can not go together, we have just proven the opposite with the SEA-Med project. Sea protected areas and a sustainable economy, especially tourism based on cooperation with the local population, are the future of our gems – Lastovo’s and Telašćice. ”
Director of Public institution Nature park Telašćica Nikolina Baković highlights the development of a strategic document – Sustainable tourism plan:
“We have also incorporated the local community into the plan – we have established the Cooperation Council which is an important step in realizing all conceived sustainable activities. ”
In addition to the Sustainable tourism plan, the expert leader of the Nature Park Lastovo island Jelena Matoković emphasizes the importance of coexistence between man and nature:
We are grateful to the Association Sunce and to the whole team for making the first educational trail on Lastovo, a planisphere on the subject of the phenomenon of the dark, starry sky of Lastovo, cookbooks and funny maps that are very well received by the local population and visitors and the promotional video about the park. In the Skriveni camp, we’ve improved energy efficiency by installing solar panels and 10 private renters have been given tools for composting, energy reducing water consumption, all in order to make a joint step towards sustainability and sustainable tourism. “